The Hague

A ride of gold (Or: Golden carriage to be on display at Amsterdam museum)

Have you heard of the Dutch golden carriage? It was in the news this week See also this dutchnews.nl article: Gouden Koets may no longer be used on budget day amid slavery controversy. The gouden koets or golden carriage is one of two carriages the King has at his disposal. Traditionally it makes an appearance at least once a year at Prinsjesdag, which happens on the third Tuesday each September – next week, then.

Gouden koets verlaat het binnenhof / Golden carriage leaves the Binnenhof. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

On this day the King takes a carriage ride from the Dutch Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal in the Binnenhof before delivering a speech to the Dutch Senate and House of Representatives. Normally the golden carriage is used for this carriage ride, but they also have a backup glass carriage. This is a good thing because the golden carriage is currently being restored (it was gifted to Queen Wilhelmina in 1896 after all!). Once the restoration is complete the golden carriage will be on display at the Amsterdam Museum next year from June to November.

That means it will not be available next year for Prinsesdag in September. However that seems to be the plan all along due to some unexpected controversy. One of the door panels depicts a racist scene, with dark-skinned persons bowing and offering gifts to a white woman. There’s also the thought that since millions of euros were spent of this restoration it is probably better that it not be used during the parade anymore. We shall see.

Luckily they still have the glass carriage at their disposal…

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SpiZe (Or: First time back in a restaurant)

Well, Marco and I can add “went back to a restaurant” to our lists – on Sunday we met up with Roger and his mom to enjoy Thai food at the SpiZe restaurant. Yes, the Z is officially capitalized in their name.

I had Keng Massman: The menu description is: Tender sliced beef in Thai brown curry with coconut milk, potatoes, cashew nuts and onions. I can definitely recommend it.

Above is Marco’s dessert – spekkoek (Indonesian layer cake) with pandan ice cream. Yum!

And how was our first trip to a restaurant in these corona times? Not too bad, actually. The official rule in the Netherlands is that two or more households need to keep 1.5 meters distance from each other inside a restaurant. SpiZe requests that if you fall into this category you should send an email to them (versus placing an online reservation). That way they can seat the party at one of the tables by the window. These tables are definitely wider which helps you keep your distance.

Between each table was a glass shield, although I can’t remember if they were always there. There were also arrows on the floor telling you which direction you could walk in. Roger also received information and a QR code to scan so that he could register the group online and answer the obligatory health-related questions.

It’s not perfect, but it’s probably as close as you can get while still having a relatively normal restaurant experience. I’m definitely glad we went as the food and company was good.

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New use for the old PostNL location (Or: Another Amazing Oriental in The Hague)

Yesterday while waiting for Marco I spotted a new addition to the grocery store scene: another Amazing Oriental location would be popping up in The Hague. This one was going to take over the space left vacant by PostNL:

Amazing Oriental is an Asian supermarket with over 20 locations in The Netherlands. At this point I can’t imagine doing without it. For instance, tonight we had wokgroente (vegetables in the wok) and the sauce we chose was ponzu sauce. It is a thin citrus-based Japanese sauce with a tart aftertaste. In this varation we added a bit of lime juice, sesame oil and soy sauce to spice things up a bit more. Yummmm.

The interesting thing about PostNL (the Dutch postal service) is that this location was literally the last remaining post office in the Netherlands (article from ad.nl in Dutch). It closed in November 2018. Unfortunately these days all PostNL locations are mini locations found in other, existing stores. It does make it easier to pick up packages, though. Speaking of which, I do have to go pick up a package tomorrow…

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Bird and flowers (Or: New graffiti in the Wagenstraat)

Marco and I spotted some beautiful graffiti in the Wagenstraat in The Hague’s city centre.

Beautiful, isn’t it? if you live in The Hague and you want to check it out yourself, go to the Wagenstraat and then find the side street called Wagenstraat (no, that’s not a typo). The side street is around the corner from a Chinese restaurant, Kaa Luu Palace.

For something completely different, check out this article over at dutchnews.nl: Cameras in Veluwe capture clearest footage of wolf in NL to date. Yep, wolves! In the Netherlands. Yikes. But good for the ecosystem. The Veluwe is a hilly, forest-rich area in the Gelderland province of the Netherlands. See also the Wikipedia article about the Veluwe in English. It sounds like a pretty relaxing place to visit. If you avoid the wolves that is!

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Sliding away… (Or: Collapsing canal wall in Amsterdam)

Here’s a strange news story from today:

The good news is that no one was hurt. And for those of us who like to see the destruction in action, there’s a 21 second video over at this nos.nl news article: Kademuur in centrum Amsterdam deels ingestort.

It’s Tuesday, so the Dutch public health institute has released the weekly Covid-19 numbers (from rivm.nl, in English). It’s actually good news, to a degree: we’re either stable in comparison to last week (number of infections) or doing slightly better (number of hospitalizations and deaths). Because there are more people getting tested, the number of positive tests has gone down as well. The only less than thrilling news is that The Hague has more infections than last week – 331 this week versus 278 last week.

There was also a press conference tonight, about six months after the first coronavirus patient was reported in the Netherlands. I can’t believe it’s been six months! The biggest update was that nightclubs and discotheques are not yet allowed to reopen, with no reopening date set at this time. The prime minister talked about how we are getting frustrated with the situation but we need to stay alert, especially as schools are reopening and people are coming back from vacation.

The Dutch corona app CoronaMelder (Corona reporter) will be delayed until about half September so that testing locations can be expanded first. It should have been in use nationally from today. It is currently in testing, and anyone who receives a notification from the test app can get tested without symptoms. However, at the moment the general country is being asked to only get tested if they have symptoms. These two policies obviously don’t match, hence the slight delay.

There’s more on the press conference over at nltimes.nl: Nightclubs to remain closed, frustration with Covid rules is understandable.

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Good news! (Or: Longer opening hours at the Central Library)

Being the book nerd that I am, I am happy to read that The Hague’s Central Library would go back to its normal opening hours starting tomorrow, 31 August. The library branches in Escamp, Scheveningen and Segbroek will also have their normal opening hours from tomorrow. The rest of the libraries will hopefully go back to their normal opening times in the beginning of October.

Personally, I’m quite happy about this, as I used to make a quick trip to the library after work. But with the corona opening hours being 12:00-17:00 Monday-Saturday, this usually wasn’t possible. And something always came up to prevent me from going on Saturday…

View of the Central Library from Pathé Spui (movie theatre chain), March 2019

And if that does not give you enough of your library fix, the Central Library is also holding their annual book/film/cd sale next Sunday, 6 September from 12:00-17:00, on the 3rd floor. Or the 4th floor, if you’re American (see Wikipedia’s article about floor numbering in different cultures). Heh.

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Fuze tea (Or: Free treats in the city centre)

Today Marco visited the city centre to do a bit of shopping. Lucky guy had the day off! But he did take a photo for me (thank you). It turns out he found a fuze tea stand handing out free samples:

He chose the blueberry jasmine flavor and remarked about how they tried to make the giveaway corona proof. Normally it’s a chaotic group of people standing around, cutting in line, hoping to get in and out quickly. But today they had a line (see above) with self-service – you reach into the display case and grab your own tea. Which had the nice benefit that they don’t open the drink and then hand it to you to drink right away.

Today’s weather in short: sudden buckets of rain that fall onto your head without warning, lasting about 5-10 minutes, while a blue sky shines mockingly above you. And cold weather. Much colder. Apparently we went from an extreme heat wave to lower-than-average temperatures. Hmph.

Have a good weekend everyone!

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Don’t get blown away (Or: Storm Francis knocks on the door)

Heat wave? What heat wave? The weather has definitely changed. I was actually a bit cold in bed last night! Scandalous.

Storm Francis poised to hit the Netherlands, winds of up to 80kph expected from dutchnews.nl. There’s also an article at omroepwest.nl (in Dutch) about the preparations The Hague is taking to minimize any damage from storm Francis. Think of things like breaking down beach equipment or closing roads which have already seen branches break off recently. The city is also strategically placing cables in trees on the Lange Voorhout to make sure if a branch breaks the entire tree doesn’t come down. Those really are beautiful trees, so I can see why they want to protect them (photo from a blog post earlier this month):

And, amusingly enough, there’s a bouncy castle festival going on in the region. The organizers mentioned that the festival would be cancelled tomorrow and they would be letting the air out of the cushions in preparation for the storm coming this evening. Seriously, a bouncy castle festival. How cool is that. My six year old self probably would have loved that.

Of course, nothing will top the wind storm of 2018. Yeesh.

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“Out is inside this year!” (Or: UIT festival in The Hague)

The UIT festival is a cultural festival normally held on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague, about a 5-10 minute walk from the city centre. Uitgaan in Dutch means “to go out”. This year, due to the coronavirus, the festival was renamed to “Binnen uit”, or “Inside uit”, referring to the fact that the cultural events will mostly be held inside this year. Reservations are also generally required.

If you are interested in reserving tickets for one of the cultural institutions, you can read more information over at the UIT festival website. Here’s an example: Around the Grote Kerk, a carillon concert from the Tong Tong Fair. In that case no reservations are needed since the bells can be heard over a wide area.

And behind the promotional material in my photo you can see work being done on the building. A Japanese clothing store with the name Uniqlo will open in October of this year.

…Can I have my Marks and Spencer back instead please? They had good food and coffee! I still have an incomplete stamp card for a free coffee, darnit!

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Annastraat in The Hague (Or: Side street in the city centre)

Today I’ve chosen a random photo of the city centre for you. Take a look at Annastraat:

As noted, it’s in the city centre: not far from the Grote Kerk and just around the corner from restaurant Milu, where Marco and I held our wedding reception back in 2013, although it was a different restaurant then.

DutchNews.nl has updated their coronavirus article with the changes announced during the press conference: Coronavirus in the Netherlands: what you need to know, update August 19

In and other news: Germans must walk their dogs twice a day, new law will say from theguardian.com. And each walk must last an hour. In theory it sounds good for dogs everywhere. Yet in reality it seems too hard to enforce. Does it take older or sick dogs into consideration? Or bad weather (freezing temperatures or scorching temperatures)? Personally I don’t expect to see this law lasting long… but you never know.

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